always hold a place in her memory, for that alone. But I don’t want to be a memory: I want to stay in her mind. I need to stay in her mind. What can I do? There’s a knock at the door and Andrea appears. “Coffee and croissants for you, Mr. Grey.” “Come in.” As she scurries over to my desk her eyes dart to the glider, but wisely she holds her tongue. She places breakfast on my desk. Black coffee. Well done, Andrea. “Thanks.” “I’ve left messages for Welch, Barney, and Bastille. Flynn is calling back in five.” “Good. I want you to cancel any social engagements I have this week. No lunches, nothing in the evening. Get Barney on the phone and find me the number of a good florist.” She scribbles furiously on her notepad. “Sir, we use Arcadia’s Roses. Would you like me to send flowers for you?” “No, give me the number. I’ll do it myself. That’s all.” She nods and leaves promptly, as if she can’t get out of my office fast enough. A few moments later the phone buzzes. It’s Barney. “Barney, I need you to make me a stand for a model glider.” BETWEEN MEETINGS I CALL the florist and order two dozen white roses for Ana, to be delivered to her
home this evening. That way she won’t be embarrassed or inconvenienced at work. And she won’t be able to forget me. “Would you like a message with the flowers, sir?” the florist asks. A message for Ana? What to say? Come back. I’m sorry. I won’t hit you again. The words pop unbidden into my head, making me frown. “Um…something like, ‘Congratulations on your first day at work. I hope it went well.’ ” I spy the glider on my desk. “ ‘And thank you for the glider. That was very thoughtful. It has pride of place on my desk. Christian.’ ” The florist reads it back to me. Damn, it doesn’t express what I want to say to her at all. “Will that be all, Mr. Grey?” “Yes. Thank you.” “You’re welcome, sir, and have a nice day.” I look daggers at the phone. Nice day my ass. “HEY, MAN, WHAT’S EATING you?” Claude gets up from the floor, where I’ve just knocked him flat on his
lean, mean rear end. “You’re on fire this afternoon, Grey.” He rises slowly, with the grace of a big cat reassessing its prey. We are sparring alone in the basement gym at Grey House.